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Tag: Physics

DC Circuits

Watch this video to see how direct current works.

Eddy Currents in Action

What happens when different materials are released in the finge fields of the world's strongest magnet? It's a race that appears to defy gravity, but is instead an amazing way to see the effect of eddy currents on metals.

Ferromagnetic Football

What happens when you throw a magnetic football next to the world's strongest magnet? Touchdown!

How Atmospheric Pressure Affects Objects

Watch how changing the atmospheric pressure around objects can change their size.

Junkyard Magnet

Watch a junkyard magnet squash water jugs and melons using the power of electromagnets.

Levitation Melting

Watch this metal sphere levitate in the bore of an induction coil and learn why it happens.

Maglev Trains

This model train demonstrates magnetic levitation, the Meissner Effect and magnetic flux trapping.

Potato Launcher

An up-close view of a favorite Open House demo, carbo-loaded with information on how the pneumatic potato launcher works.

Shrinking Quarter Machine

A MagLab physicist and engineer pair up to demonstrate the lab's famous Quarter Shrinking Machine, a loud, stinky illustration of electrodynamics, circuits, Lenz’s Law and Lorenz forces.

Tesla Coils

What's behind these cool purple sparks? Neat science about resonance and transformers.

Eddy Currents

This cool trick appears to defy gravity and time, but is instead another demonstration of the awesome powers of electromagnetism.

How Capacitors Work

Capacitors can store electrical energy and discharge it quickly, powering things like flash bulbs and starter motors.

How DC Motors Work

DC motors make things like appliances and power tools work by converting electrical energy to mechanical energy. Find out how.

How Electromotive Force Works

EMF, or electromotive force, refers to the voltage created by a battery or by a changing magnetic field. Counter EMF, also called Back EMF, is a related phenomenon that we will illustrate in this animation.

How Ignition Coils Work

Conventional automobiles burn gasoline in an internal combustion engine and convert that energy into motion. But first a spark is needed to ignite the fuel mixture. This animation shows how a 12-volt battery generates the high voltage required to create such a discharge.

How Microwaves Work

You use it to pop popcorn and heat up soup. Now learn what happens behind the microwave door.

How Oersted Discovered Electromagnetism

Watch how Hans Christian Oersted discovered quite by accident in 1820 that electricity and magnetism are related.

How Research Electromagnets Work

Take a journey into the center of a one of our magnets to watch an experiment on graphene, one of many things scientists study at the MagLab.

How Van de Graaff Generators Work

Used originally to charge particles in atomic accelerators, Van de Graaff generators are now used mostly to educate students about electrostatics. See how they generate the static electricity that can make your hair stand on end.

Right and Left Hand Rules

Learn to use your own two hands to understand the relationship between electricity and magnetism.

The Lorentz Force

What happens when you put an electrical current in a magnetic field? Although it looks like magic, it's really the Lorentz force.

How Research Electromagnets Work (Cómo funcionan los electroimanes de investigación)

Take a journey into the center of a one of our magnets to watch an experiment on graphene, one of many things scientists study at the MagLab.

How Van de Graaff Generators Work (Cómo funcionan los generadores Van De Graaff)

Used originally to charge particles in atomic accelerators, Van de Graaff generators are now used mostly to educate students about electrostatics. See how they generate the static electricity that can make your hair stand on end.

How Oersted Discovered Electromagnetism (Lo que Oersted descubrió con su brújula)

Watch how Hans Christian Oersted discovered quite by accident in 1820 that electricity and magnetism are related.

How Ignition Coils Work (Las bobinas de encendido)

Conventional automobiles burn gasoline in an internal combustion engine and convert that energy into motion. But first a spark is needed to ignite the fuel mixture. This animation shows how a 12-volt battery generates the high voltage required to create such a discharge.

How Capacitors Work (Cómo funcionan los condensadores)

Capacitors can store electrical energy and discharge it quickly, powering things like flash bulbs and starter motors.

How Electromotive Force Works (Cómo funciona la fuerza electromotriz)

EMF, or electromotive force, refers to the voltage created by a battery or by a changing magnetic field. Counter EMF, also called Back EMF, is a related phenomenon that we will illustrate in this animation.

How Microwaves Work (Cómo funcionan las microondas)

You use it to pop popcorn and heat up soup. Now learn what happens behind the microwave door.

The Lorentz Force (La Fuerza de Lorentz)

What happens when you put an electrical current in a magnetic field? Although it looks like magic, it's really the Lorentz force.

Alternating Current

Every time you plug something into the electricity in your house, you are utilizing the power of alternating current (AC.)


A capacitor is similar to a battery, but a few key differences make them crucial additions to many machines.

Compasses in Magnetic Fields

The invention of the magnetic compass radically changed the way humans navigated from place to place. Travelers could orient themselves even when the skies were cloudy and there wasn’t a landmark in sight.

DC Motor

This simple direct current (DC) motor has been created by pairing a permanent magnet and an electromagnet. The permanent magnet is called a stator because it doesn’t move. The electromagnet is a spinning coil of wire and is often called the rotor. A battery is connected to the circuit, and a magnetic field is created when current flows through the wire. That magnetic field interacts with the field of the permanent magnet, and the coil turns until the two fields are aligned.

Electromagnetic Induction

When a permanent magnet is moved inside of a copper wire coil, electrical current flows inside of the wire. This important physics phenomenon is called electromagnetic induction.

Magnetic Field Around a Wire

Whenever current travels through a conductor, a magnetic field is generated.

Magnetic Domains

Why can some materials be turned into magnets? It’s all thanks to magnetic domains.

Ørsted's Compass

In 1820, Hans Christian Ørsted discovered the relationship between electricity and magnetism in this very simple experiment.

Van de Graaff Generator

The Van de Graaff generator is a popular tool for teaching the principles of electrostatics. You might remember it as the thing that made your hair stand on end. It’s now largely used for educational purposes, but it was invented by Robert J. Van de Graaff in 1930 to power early particle accelerators.

Magnetic Field of a Solenoid

You can create a stronger, more concentrated magnetic field by taking wire and forming it into a coil called a solenoid.

Heat Resistance

Metals conduct electricity because their atoms have free electrons that can move between them. As those free electrons move through the metal conductor, some of them crash into things along the way like protons, neutrons, and even other electrons. Those collisions give “resistance” to the movement of the free electrons and generate heat. The resistance is increased further if the metal is exposed to an outside heating source, which causes all particles in the material to move more.

Mass Spectrometer (Single Sector)

Mass spectrometers are instruments that give scientists information on the composition of a material. Mass spectrometers can pick apart complex substances and analyze their atoms and molecules by observing how they react to magnetic fields.

Mass Spectrometer (Dual Sector)

Mass spectrometers are instruments that give scientists insight into the composition of complex materials. These spectrometers can analyze materials and identify atoms and molecules by examining how they react to magnetic fields.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines, commonly known as MRIs, are awesome diagnostic tools for medical applications and research. Relying on strong superconducting magnets, they save countless lives with their ability to visualize tumors and other medical abnormalities.

Bullet Speed

This tutorial takes a shot at explaining how circuits can be used to measure things beyond the capacity of human senses.

Diamagnetism and Paramagnetism

Certain metals exhibit a strong response to a magnetic field. But everything reacts to magnetic fields in some way.

Contracting Helix

This device demonstrates how parallel wires attract because of the magnetic fields they generate.

Faraday Motor

Just a year after electromagnetism was discovered, the great scientist Michael Faraday figured out how to turn it into motion.

Guitar Pickup

This simple device transforms the mechanical energy of the vibrating guitar strings into electrical energy.

Voltaic Pile

Italian scientist Alessandro Volta was the first to recognize key principles of electrochemistry, and applied those principles to the creation of the first battery.

Current Flow

This tutorial illustrates the flow of electricity through a circuit and how that flow is impacted by resistors in the circuit.

Pixii Machine

This “magneto-electric machine” was the first to turn motion into electricity.

Parallel Wires

A pair of parallel wires serves to illustrate a principle that French scientist André-Marie Ampère was the first to comprehend.

Cathode Ray Electromagnetic Deflection Basics

Discover how cathode rays behave in a magnetic field.

Cathode Ray Tube Television

For decades, the Cathode Ray Tube was used for video displays from televisions to computer screens. 

Electrostatic Repulsion from Van de Graaff Generator

A fun way to illustrate electrostatic forces from a Van de Graaff generator.

Inductive Pendulum

Get the swing of electromagnetic induction with this device.

Hall Effect

When a magnetic field is applied to a flowing current, it creates a weak but measurable voltage. This is the Hall effect.

Transmission Lines

Electricity goes through some ups and downs on its way from the power plant to your house. Here's how it works.


Transformers are devices that transfer a voltage from one circuit to another circuit via induction.

Arc Lamp

Arc lamps were the first type of electric light, so brilliant the lamps were used for lighthouses and street lights.

Ignition Coil

Start your engines and learn about the ignition coil, a key to operating your car.


How does a microwave heat your food? Water interacting with high-frequency electromagnetic waves.

Electrostatic Generator

Though simple by today's standards, the early electrostatic generators were a great milestone in humankind's understanding of electricity.

Kelvin Water Dropper

The legendary Lord Kelvin made electricity from water with his water dropper.


A galvanometer detects and measures small amounts of current in an electrical circuit.

Faraday’s Ice Pail

Out of a humble ice pail the great experimentalist Michael Faraday created a device to demonstrate key principles of attraction, repulsion and electrostatic induction. 

Barkhausen Effect

The Barkhausen effect makes the concept of magnetic domains audible.

Foucault's Disk

In 1855, a French physicist created a device that illustrated how eddy currents work.

Lodge's Experiment

Sir Oliver Lodge's experiment demonstrating the first tunable radio receiver was an important stepping stone on the path toward the invention of a practical radio.

Magnetic Shunt

Magnetic shunts are often used to adjust the amount of flux in the magnetic circuits found in most electrical motors.

Daniell Cell

English chemist John Frederick Daniell came up with a twist on the simple voltaic cell.

Electricity Meter

The newest electric meters rely on different techniques to measure usage. But power to many homes and businesses is still monitored by traditional meters like the one explained in this tutorial. It also shows how usage of various appliances impacts power consumption.

Inductive Reactance

Like resistance, reactance slows down an electrical current. This phenomenon occurs only in AC circuits.

Tape Recorder

Two heads — or even three — are better than one when it comes to understanding how tape recorders harness electromagnetic induction.

Lorentz Force

A wire fashioned into a pendulum moves inside a magnetic field, demonstrating the Lorentz force.

Electromotive Force in Inductors

Electromotive Force is an important phenomenon that impacts the way electrons flow through a conductor.

Magnetic Core Memory

Magnetic core memory was developed in the late 1940s and 1950s, and remained the primary way in which early computers read, wrote and stored data until RAM came along in the 1970s.

Wheatstone Bridge

This circuit is most commonly used to determine the value of an unknown resistance to an electrical current.

Giant Magnetoresistance

This itsy-bitsy phenomenon makes your iPod and hard drive tick.

Low-Temperature Physics

Why do physicists want to study things at temperatures so cold atomic motion almost comes to a halt? And how do they create such frigid environments, anyway? Read on for the what, how and why of low temperature physics.

Superconductivity 101

They don't call it super for nothing. Once you get a superconductor going, it'll keep on ticking like the Energizer Bunny, only a lot longer. The catch is, it needs to be kept colder than Pluto.

Cryogenics for English Majors

Fear not, right-brained friends: Science and art intersect in plenty of places, and this is one of them. Samuel Taylor Coleridge lends a hand as we explore cryogenics – how to get things fantastically frigid – and the fascinating element that makes it all possible.

The Nature of Noise

When Mother Nature whispers, physicist Albert Migliori listens.

Graphene Study: Step-by-Step

How do scientists use powerful magnets to learn about graphene? 

Magnets + Lasers: An Enlightening Research Duo

How do lasers help shine a light on MagLab research? Read and see for yourself! 

The Life of an Experiment

From idea to published paper, every experiment follows a similar path of inquiry.

A Match Made in Physics

Whether with people, particles or the forces of physics, love always finds a way.

Subatomic Smackdown

When it comes to talent, versatility and the power to change the world, which atomic particle is the champ? Read what our four contenders have to say — then you decide.

How to Whip Up New Physics

Sometimes, science can be a bit like making a good sandwich — but one a little more complex than your average PB&J.

Monty Python's Science Circus

And now for something completely different: 10 high-field physics predictions that Monty Python nailed.

From Frustration to Discovery

A step-by-step look at how one physicist uses magnets to understand superconductors, spin liquids and why some materials get frustrated.

André-Marie Ampère

Although he was not the first person to observe a connection between electricity and magnetism, André-Marie Ampère was the first scientist to attempt to theoretically explain and mathematically describe the phenomenon.

Svante Arrhenius

Svante Arrhenius was born in Vik, Sweden, and became the first native of that country to win the Nobel Prize.

John Bardeen

John Bardeen was one of a handful of individuals awarded the Nobel Prize twice and the first scientist to win dual awards in physics.

J. Georg Bednorz

J. Georg Bednorz jointly revolutionized superconductivity research with K. Alex Müller by discovering an entirely new class of superconductors, often referred to as high-temperature superconductors.

Gerd Binnig

A native of Germany, the physicist Gerd Binnig co-developed the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) with Heinrich Rohrer while the pair worked together at the IBM Research Laboratory in Switzerland.

Felix Bloch

Physicist Felix Bloch developed a non-destructive technique for precisely observing and measuring the magnetic properties of nuclear particles.

Robert Bosch

Long before his name began gracing kitchen appliances, Bosch made improvements to the magneto that had far-reaching improvements in the automobile industry.

Walter Brattain

Walter Houser Brattain discovered the photo-effect that occurs at the free surface of a semiconductor and was co-creator of the point-contact transistor, which paved the way for the more advanced types of transistors that eventually replaced vacuum tubes in almost all electronic devices in the latter half of the 20th century.

Leon Cooper

Leon Cooper shared the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physics with John Bardeen and Robert Schrieffer, with whom he developed the first widely accepted theory of superconductivity.

Eric Cornell

Born in Palo Alto, California, and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts – homes to Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively – you could say Eric Cornell was destined to become a renowned scientist.

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb invented a device, dubbed the torsion balance, that allowed him to measure very small charges and experimentally estimate the force of attraction or repulsion between two charged bodies.

Humphry Davy

Humphry Davy was a pioneer in the field of electrochemistry who used electrolysis to isolate many elements from the compounds in which they occur naturally.

Peter Debye

Peter Debye carried out pioneering studies of molecular dipole moments, formulated theories of magnetic cooling and of electrolytic dissociation, and developed an X-ray diffraction technique for use with powdered, rather than crystallized, substances.

Paul Dirac

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was an outstanding twentieth century theoretical physicist whose work was fundamental to the development of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics.

Roland Eötvös

Vásárosnaményi Báró Eötvös Loránd, better known as Roland EEötvös or Loránd Eötvös throughout much of the world, was a Hungarian physicist who is most recognized for his extensive experimental work involving gravity, but who also made significant studies of capillarity and magnetism.

Michael Faraday

A self-educated man with a brilliant mind, Michael Faraday was born in a hardscrabble neighborhood in London.

Enrico Fermi

Enrico Fermi was a titan of twentieth-century physics.

Richard Feynman

Theoretical physicist Richard Phillips Feynman greatly simplified the way in which the interactions of particles could be described through his introduction of the diagrams that now bear his name (Feynman diagrams) and was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for his reworking of quantum electrodynamics (QED).

John Ambrose Fleming

John Ambrose Fleming was an electronics pioneer who invented the oscillation valve, or vacuum tube, a device that would help make radios, televisions, telephones and even early electronic computers possible.

Carl Friedrich Gauss

Although he is best known as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, Carl Friedrich Gauss was also a pioneer in the study of magnetism and electricity.

Murray Gell-Mann

Murray Gell-Mann is a theoretical physicist who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1969 for his contributions to elementary particle physics.

William Gilbert

William Gilbert was an English physician and natural philosopher who wrote a six-volume treatise that compiled all of the information regarding magnetism and electricity known at the time.

Joseph Henry

Joseph Henry was an American scientist who pioneered the construction of strong, practical electromagnets and built one of the first electromagnetic motors.

Heinrich Hertz

The discovery of radio waves, which was widely seen as confirmation of James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic theory and paved the way for numerous advances in communication technology, was made by German physicist Heinrich Hertz.

Karl Jansky

Karl Jansky, who discovered extraterrestrial radio waves while investigating possible sources of interference in shortwave radio communications across the Atlantic for Bell Laboratories, is often known as the father of radio astronomy.

James Joule

James Prescott Joule experimented with engines, electricity and heat throughout his life.

John Daniel Kraus

For a man whose career involved entire known universe, John Kraus had a remarkably insular upbringing.

Lev Davidovich Landau

While growing up in the Soviet Union, Lev Landau was so far ahead of his classmates that he was ready to begin college at age 13.

Heinrich Friedrich Emil Lenz

At the turn of the 19th century, scientists were beginning to gain a rudimentary understanding of electricity and magnetism, but they knew almost nothing about the relationship between the two.

Siegmund Loewe

Siegmund Loewe was a German engineer and businessman that developed vacuum tube forerunners of the modern integrated circuit.

Theodore Maiman

Theodore Maiman built the world's first operable laser, which utilized a small synthetic rod with silvered ends to produce a narrow beam of monochromatic light with a wavelength of approximately 694 nanometers.

James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell was one of the most influential scientists of the nineteenth century.

Walther Meissner

Walther Meissner discovered while working with Robert Ochsenfeld that superconductors expel relatively weak magnetic fields from their interior and are strongly diamagnetic.

Robert Millikan

Robert Andrews Millikan was a prominent American physicist who made lasting contributions to both pure science and science education.

Karl Alexander Müller

In their search for new superconductors, Swiss theoretical physicist Karl Alexander Müller and his young colleague, J. Georg Bednorz, abandoned the metal alloys typically used in superconductivity research in favor of a class of oxides known as perovskites.

Georg Ohm

Georg Simon Ohm had humble roots and struggled financially throughout most of his life, but the German physicist is well known today for his formulation of a law, termed Ohm's law, describing the mathematical relationship between electrical current, resistance and voltage.

Heike Kamerlingh Onnes

Heike Kamerlingh Onnes was a Dutch physicist who first observed the phenomenon of superconductivity while carrying out pioneering work in the field of cryogenics.

Hans Christian Ørsted

A discovery by Hans Christian Ørsted forever changed the way scientists think about electricity and magnetism.

Wolfgang Pauli

Austrian-born scientist Wolfgang Ernst Pauli made numerous important contributions to twentieth-century theoretical physics, including explaining the Zeeman effect, first postulating the existence of the neutrino, and developing what has come to be known as the Pauli exclusion principle.

Jean-Charles-Athanase Peltier

Although he didn't start studying physics until he retired from the clock-making business at age 30, French native Jean Peltier made immense contributions to science that still reverberate today.

Max Planck

In a career that lasted seven decades, Max Planck achieved an enduring legacy with groundbreaking discoveries involving the relationship between heat and energy, but he is most remembered as the founder of the "quantum theory."

Edward Purcell

Edward Mills Purcell was an American physicist who received half of the 1952 Nobel Prize for Physics for his development of a new method of ascertaining the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei.

Isidor Isaac Rabi

Isidor Isaac Rabi won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1944 for his development of a technique for measuring the magnetic characteristics of atomic nuclei.

Heinrich Rohrer

Swiss physicist Heinrich Rohrer co-invented the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), a non-optical instrument that allows the observation of individual atoms in three dimensions, with Gerd Binnig.

John Robert Schrieffer

While still in graduate school, John Robert Schrieffer developed with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper a theoretical explanation of superconductivity that garnered the trio the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1972.

Julian Schwinger

Theoretical physicist Julian Schwinger used the mathematical process of renormalization to rid the quantum field theory developed by Paul Dirac of serious incongruities with experimental observations that had nearly prompted the scientific community to abandon it.

Claude Shannon

Claude Shannon was a mathematician and electrical engineer whose work underlies modern information theory and helped instigate the digital revolution.

William Shockley

William Bradford Shockley was head of the solid-state physics team at Bell Labs that developed the first point-contact transistor, which he quickly followed up with the invention of the more advanced junction transistor.

Werner von Siemens

In 1866, the research of Werner von Siemens would lead to his discovery of the dynamo electric principle that paved the way for the large-scale generation of electricity through mechanical means.

Nikola Tesla

Awarded more than 100 patents over the course of his lifetime, Nikola Tesla was a man of considerable genius and vision.

Joseph John Thomson

Joseph John Thomson, better known as J. J. Thomson, was a British physicist who first theorized and offered experimental evidence that the atom was a divisible entity rather than the basic unit of matter, as was widely believed at the time.

William Thomson, Lord Kelvin

William Thomson, known as Lord Kelvin, was one of the most eminent scientists of the nineteenth century and is best known today for inventing the international system of absolute temperature that bears his name.

Sin-Itiro Tomonaga

Japanese theoretical physicist Sin-Itiro Tomonaga resolved key problems with the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) developed by Paul Dirac in the late 1920s through the use of a mathematical technique he referred to as renormalization.

Alessandro Volta

Alessandro Volta was an Italian scientist whose skepticism of Luigi Galvani's theory of animal electricity led him to propose that an electrical current is generated by contact between different metals.

Wilhelm Weber

Researching magnetism with the great mathematician and astronomer Karl Friedrich Gauss in the 1830s, German physicist Wilhelm Weber developed and enhanced a variety of devices for sensitively detecting and measuring magnetic fields and electrical currents.

Carl Edwin Wieman

Carl Edwin Wieman is one of three physicists credited with the discovery of a fifth phase of matter, for which he was awarded a share of the prestigious Nobel Prize in 2001.

Arc Lamp - 1876

Fire lighted the night for many centuries before humans discovered new ways to illuminate their lives.

Audion – 1906

Two years after Englishman John Ambrose Fleming invented a two-electrode vacuum tube, American inventor Lee De Forest one-upped him by developing a tube with three electrodes.

Bubble Chamber – 1952

To understand a bubble chamber, picture the long, white streak an airplane leaves in its wake.

Coaxial Cable – 1929

As more and more American households acquired telephones, the pressure was on to create a better cable to accommodate the increasing demand. Engineers Lloyd Espenschied and Herman Affel answered the call.

Crookes Tube – 1870

English chemist Sir William Crookes (1832 – 1919) invented the Crookes tube to study gases, which fascinated him. His work also paved the way for the revolutionary discovery of the electron and the invention of X-ray machines.

Cyclotron – 1931

A cyclotron is a machine that accelerates charged particles to high energies.

Davenport Motor – 1834

Odd though it seems today, when Thomas Davenport was selling one of the first electric motors way back in the 1830s, nobody was buying.

Early Chinese Compass – 400 BC

The first compass was used not to point people in the right direction literally, but figuratively.

Edison Battery – 1903

Although it never quite measured up to expectations, the Edison battery paved the way for the modern alkaline battery.

Electric Range – 1892

From the Stone Age to today, the search is constantly underway for better, more efficient ways to cook food. Reflecting many of the advances in science and technology, the electric range has become a popular choice for homes and businesses.

Electrophorus – 1764

A very primitive capacitor, this early device allowed scientists to give discs of metal specific charge.

Electrostatic Generator – 1706

Otto von Guericke's electrostatic machine evolved into increasingly improved instruments in the hands of later scientists. In the early 1700s, an Englishman named Francis Hauksbee designed his own electrostatic generator, a feat stemming from his studies of mercury.

Faraday Motor – 1821

Few inventions have shaped technology as much as the electric motor, but the very first version — the Faraday motor — didn't look anything like the modern motor.

Fluorescent Lamps – 1934

Compared to incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps last longer, require less energy and produce less heat, advantages resulting from the different way in which they generate light.

Gauss-Weber Telegraph – 1833

Several years before the telegraph created by American inventor Samuel Morse revolutionized communications, two German scientists built their own functional telegraph.

Geiger Counter – 1908

Counting alpha particles was tedious and time-consuming work, until Hans Geiger came up with a device that did the job automatically.

Gold Leaf Electroscope – 1787

For centuries, the electroscope was one of the most popular instruments used by scientists to study electricity. Abraham Bennet first described this version in 1787.

Gramme Dynamo – 1871

Zenobe Theophile Gramme (1826 – 1901) invented the first industrial generator, or dynamo. A deceptively simple-looking machine, it consisted of 30 coils wrapped around a spinning ring of iron.

Hydroelectric Power Station – 1882

The first hydroelectric power plant, known as the Vulcan Street Plant, was powered by the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Iconoscope – 1923

American inventor Vladimir Zworykin, the “father of television," conceived two components key to that invention: the iconoscope and the kinescope.

Kettle – 1891

Found in more homes than any other appliance, the kettle has steadily evolved from an ancient tool to an important modern convenience.

Leyden Jars – 1745

Because they could store significant amounts of charge, Leyden jars allowed scientists to experiment with electricity in a way never before possible.

Lodestone – 600 BC

The history of electricity and magnetism starts with this special mineral possessing amazing, and still mysterious, properties.

Maglev Trains – 1984

The railroad industry began in the frontier days, magnetic levitation has moved it squarely into the space age.

Magneto – 1832

The magneto helped fire up the first generation of automobiles.

Magnetometer – 1832

The Earth, the moon, the stars and just about everything in between has a magnetic field, and scientists use magnetometers when they need to know the strength of those fields.

Magnetron – 1920

Although they have applications at the highest levels of scientific research, magnetron tubes are used every day by non-scientists who just want to heat their food in a hurry.

Marconi Radio – 1897

A number of distinguished scientists had a hand in the discovery of "wireless telegraphy," but it was the work done by Guglielmo Marconi that is credited with providing the basis of radio as we know it today.

Morse Telegraph – 1844

The man most commonly associated with the telegraph, Samuel Morse, did not invent the communications tool. But he developed it, commercialized it and invented the famous code for it that bears his name.

Oersted Satellite – 1999

Named in honor of Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted, Denmark’s first satellite has been observing and mapping the magnetic field of the Earth.

Oersted's Compass – 1820

Compasses had been steering people in the right direction for many centuries when, in the year 1820, one particular compass made a very different sort of revelation to an unsuspecting Danish science professor.

Oscilloscope – 1897

From the auto shop to the doctor's office, the oscilloscope is an important diagnostic tool.

Planté Battery – 1859

French physicist Gaston Planté invented the first rechargeable battery, leaving an enduring legacy in battery history. To see it, just pop the hood of your car.

Schweigger Multiplier – 1820

Spurred by Hans Christian Ørsted's discovery of a relationship between electricity and magnetism, German chemist Julian Schweigger immediately began tinkering and soon came up with a very early galvanometer known as the Schweigger multiplier.

Stanley Transformer – 1886

Applying discoveries Michael Faraday had made a few decades earlier, William Stanley designed the first commercial transformer for Westinghouse in 1886.

Sulfur Globe – 1660

In the 17th century, German scientist Otto von Guericke built and carried out experiments with a sulfur globe that produced static electricity.

Tesla Coil – 1891

By the late 1800s, electricity had long been discovered and was no longer considered a novelty. The science of how to store, enhance, or transmit electrical current was just beginning to evolve, and eccentric scientist Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was on the cutting edge of that research.

Torsion Balance – 1785

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb didn't invent the torsion balance, but he was the first to discover it could be used to measure electrical charge – the first device capable of such a feat.

Voltaic Pile – 1800

For thousands of years, electricity was an ephemeral phenomenon – there one second and gone the next. The voltaic pile changed that forever.

Wheatstone Bridge – 1843

This device for measuring resistance in a circuit, still widely used today, was "discovered" in 1843, but had been invented a decade earlier. The inventor's name was not Wheatstone.

Wimshurst Machine – 1880

In the modern world, virtually everyone is familiar with electricity as an accessible, essential form of energy.

Zeeman Effect – 1896

Most of us have seen the rainbow-hued breakdown of the composition of light. Light is of course a form of energy. A magnetic field changes the behavior of light — a phenomenon known as the Zeeman effect.

Barlow's Wheel - 1822

English mathematician Peter Barlow devised an instrument in 1822 that built on advances from earlier in the century, including the invention of the battery, to create a very early kind of electric motor.

Galvanometer - 1820

A galvanometer is an instrument that can detect and measure small amounts of current in an electrical circuit. 

Rheostat - 1820

The rheostat was developed in the mid-1800s by Charles Wheatstone as a means of varying resistance in a circuit.


Aided by tools such as static electricity machines and leyden jars, scientists continue their experiments into the fundamentals of magnetism and electricity.

1750 - 1774

With his famous kite experiment and other forays into science, Benjamin Franklin advances knowledge of electricity, inspiring his English friend Joseph Priestley to do the same.

1775 - 1799

Scientists take important steps toward a fuller understanding of electricity, as well as some fruitful missteps, including an elaborate but incorrect theory on animal magnetism that sets the stage for a groundbreaking invention.

1800 - 1819

Alessandro Volta invents the first primitive battery, discovering that electricity can be generated through chemical processes; scientists quickly seize on the new tool to invent electric lighting. Meanwhile, a profound insight into the relationship between electricity and magnetism goes largely unnoticed.

1820 - 1829

Hans Christian Ørsted’s accidental discovery that an electrical current moves a compass needle rocks the scientific world; a spate of experiments follows, immediately leading to the first electromagnet and electric motor.

1840 - 1849

The legendary Faraday forges on with his prolific research and the telegraph reaches a milestone when a message is sent between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD.


The Industrial Revolution is in full force, Gramme invents his dynamo and James Clerk Maxwell formulates his series of equations on electrodynamics.

1870 - 1879

The telephone and first practical incandescent light bulb are invented while the word "electron" enters the scientific lexicon.

1880 - 1889

Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison duke it out over the best way to transmit electricity and Heinrich Hertz is the first person (unbeknownst to him) to broadcast and receive radio waves.

1890 - 1899

Scientists discover and probe x-rays and radioactivity, while inventors compete to build the first radio.

1900 - 1909

Albert Einstein publishes his special theory of relativity and his theory on the quantum nature of light, which he identified as both a particle and a wave. With ever new appliances, electricity begins to transform everyday life.

1910 - 1929

Scientists' understanding of the structure of the atom and of its component particles grows, the phone and radio become common, and the modern television is born.

1930 - 1939

New tools such as special microscopes and the cyclotron take research to higher levels, while average citizens enjoy novel amenities such as the FM radio.

1940 - 1959

Defense-related research leads to the computer, the world enters the atomic age and TV conquers America.

1960 - 1979

Computers evolve into PCs, researchers discover one new subatomic particle after another and the space age gives our psyches and science a new context.

1980 - 2003

Scientists explore new energy sources, the World Wide Web spins a vast network and nanotechnology is born.

Activity Books

Color, connect the dots and word-search to learn about magnets in this cool activity book available both in English and in Spanish.

Drawing Magnetic Field Lines

Magnetic fields are invisibile, but with this activity you can – abracadabra – make the field lines appear!

Make a Compass Activity

Compasses are actually very simple. If you ever forget which way is north, follow these steps to make one yourself.

Making Electromagnets

What do you get when you mix a battery, a bit of copper wire and a nail? One of the most important forces in science. Try it yourself and let the force be with you!

Making Ferrofluids

This iron-packed substance has a dual personality; one second it's a liquid, the next it's a solid. Mix up a batch at home and see how this unique stuff works.

See Iron in Food

Iron is found in magnet, steel beams – and in our food! It tastes better in cashews than in bar magnets!

Crystal Growing

Watch crystals grow in this time lapse footage and learn how to grow your own crystals at home.

Makeshift Magnets

Turn your trash into treasure by creating your own high-field magnet models.

Fill-in Fractal

When you draw a triangle inside a triangle again and again and again at smaller scales, you are making a fractal. A fractal is a pattern that repeats forever, and every part of the fractal, regardless of how zoomed-in or zoomed-out, looks the same as the whole image.


Directions for teaching a hands-on lesson on compasses in science class and in other subjects.

Electric Motors

Power up this hands-on lesson about electric motors.


An attractive hands-on lesson on powered electromagnets.

Magnet Exploration

Hands-on exploring is the best way to learn about permanent and temporary magnets.

Making a Circuit

Allow students' creativity to flow in this hands-on lesson on circuits.

Plotting Electric Field Lines

This lesson on plotting electric fields lines can help students visualize the mostly invisible electromagnetic force.

Magnetic Putty

Concrete an understanding of magnetic putty with this hands-on lesson. 

Pancake Particles

Combining subatomic particles, science, photography and more, this lesson can be used in science class or many other subjects.

Magnetizing and Unmagnetizing

Magnetic domains are critical for magnetizing and unmagnetizing as displayed in this hands-on lesson about creating and destroying magnetic fields. 

2D Electron-Hole "Superconductor": Topological Excitonic Insulator

Decades ago, a mechanism was proposed that described a quantum phase transition to an insulating ground state from a semi-metal (excitonic insulator, or EI) using very similar mechanics to those found in the BCS description of superconductivity. The discovery of this transition to an EI in InAs/GaSb quantum wells is striking not only for the long-sought experimental realization of important physics, but also the presence of recently proposed topological behavior.

Switchable Transmission of Quantum Hall Edge States in Bilayer Graphene

In the 14 years since its discovery, graphene has amazed scientists around the world with both the ground-breaking physics and technological potential it displays. Recently, scientists from Penn State University added to graphene's gallery of impressive scientific achievements and constructed a map that will aid future exploration of this material. This work is emblematic of the large number of university-based materials research efforts that use the MagLab to explore the frontiers of science.

Dirac Fermions Detected Via Quantum Oscillations

This work provides important insight into one of the parent materials of iron-based superconductors.

Quasi-2D to 3D Fermi Surface Topology Change in Nd-Doped CeCoIn5

Scientists found that the emergence of an exotic quantum mechanical phase in Ce1-xNdxCoIn5 is due to a shape change in the Fermi surface. This finding ran counter to theoretical arguments and has led investigators in new directions.

Superconducting Hydride Under Extreme Magnetic Fields and Pressure

Scientists have long pursued the goal of superconductivity at room temperature. This work opens a route towards one day stabilizing superconductivity at room temperature, which could open tremendous technological opportunities.

Even Denominator Fractional Quantum Hall States in Graphene

Scientists revealed previously unobserved and unexpected FQH states in monolayer graphene that raise new questions regarding the interaction between electrons in these states.

Evidence Supporting BiPd as a Topological Superconductor

The observation of topological states coupled with superconductivity represents an opportunity for scientists to manipulate nontrivial superconducting states via the spin-orbit interaction. While superconductivity has been extensively studied since its discovery in 1910, the advent of topological materials gives scientists a new avenue to explore quantum matter. BiPd is being studied using "MagLab-sized fields" by scientists from LSU in an effort to determine if it is indeed a topological superconductor.

Emergent States of Matter in Chemically Doped Quantum Magnets

Research on doped SrCu2(BO3)2 shows anomalies in the magnetization.

Nematic Phase Weakens Superconductivity

A nematic phase is where the molecular/atomic dynamics show elements of both liquids and solids, like in liquid crystal displays on digital watches or calculators. Using high magnetic fields and high pressure, researchers probed the electronic states of an iron-based superconductor and found that its nematic state weakened superconductivity.

Exploring Topological Semimetals in High Magnetic Fields

Topological semimetals are an exciting new area of research due to their number of predicted and unexpected quantum mechanical states. Understanding these materials may also lead to quantum devices that function at near room temperature.

Magnetoelectric Coupling at a Transition Between Two Spin States

Materials with magnetoelectric coupling - a combination of magnetic and electric properties - have potential applications in low-power magnetic sensing, new computational devices and high-frequency electronics. Here, researchers find a new class of magnetoelectric materials controlled by spin state switching.

Inducing Magnetic Ring Currents in Non-Magnetic Aromatic Molecules

Magnetic induction is used in technology to convert an applied magnetic field into an electric current and vice versa. Nature also makes extensive use of this principle at the atomic and molecular level giving scientists a window to observe material properties. Using the 25 T Split-Helix magnet, researchers observed changes in the optical properties of organic materials due to currents induced by applied magnetic fields flowing in molecular rings, evidence that could increase the list of materials that could be used in future magnetic technologies.

Hidden Magnetism Revealed in a Cuprate Superconductor

This research clarifies fundamental relationships between magnetism, superconductivity and the nature of the enigmatic “pseudogap state" in cuprate superconductors. The discovery provides an additional puzzle piece in the theoretical understanding of high-temperature superconductors - a key towards improving and utilizing these materials for technological applications.

Tunable Weyl Fermions in Chiral Tellurene in High Magnetic Fields

Topology, screws, spin and hedgehogs are words not normally found in the same scientific article but with the discovery of Weyl fermions in thin tellurine films they actually belong together. The work in this highlight describes how Qui et. al. used the unique properties of tellurine and high magnetic fields to identify the existence of Weyl fermions in a semiconductor. This discovery opens a new window into the intriguing world to topological materials.

Spectroscopic Decomposition Reveals Mangetization Mechanism in Multiferrroic Lutetium Iron Oxide Superlattices

Using electric fields as a switch to control the magnetism of a material is one of the goals behind the study of multiferroics. This work explores the microscopic origins of high temperature magnetism in one such material through the use of optical techniques in high magnetic fields, an approach that could help researchers understand magnetism in a large class of materials.

Probing a Purported Spin Nematic State Utilizing the World Record 32T All-Superconducting Magnet

Nuclear magnetic resonance measurements were performed in the all-new 32 T superconducting magnet in an effort to confirm a new quantum state. Results confirm the game-changing nature of this magnet.

Broadening Participation in DC Field Facility by Bridging a Research Infrastructure Gap

Researchers based at four-year colleges and universities outside of the Research-1 (R1) tier face more obstacles to performing research than their colleagues from R1 universities or national laboratories with robust research infrastructures. Recognizing the need to bridge this infrastructure gap, the MagLab's DC Field Facility expanded access by adding two low-field magnet systems. These "on-ramp" systems facilitate critical access to materials research instrumentation by faculty and students from non-R1 institutions.

Exchange Bias Between Coexisting Antiferromagnetic and Spin-Glass Orders

A pane of window glass and a piece of quartz are both are transparent to light, but their atomic structure is very different. Quartz is crystalline at the atomic level while window glass is amorphous. This can also occur with magnetism at the atomic level in solids containing magnetic states such as antiferromagnetism (ordered) and spin-glass (disorded). This work describes the interaction (exchange bias) between ordered and disordered magnetic states and how the magnetic properties of the material are altered as a result.

First Spin Coherence Measurements in the MagLab's 32T Superconducting Magnet

The MagLab's 32 T all-superconducting magnet is now serving users at full field. An early experiment in the magnet identified an important milestone on the road to quantum computers.

Linear-In Temperature Resistivity From Isotropic Planckian Scattering Rate

Electrons in metals behave like chaotic bumper cars, crashing into each other at every opportunity. While they may be reckless drivers, this result demonstrates that this chaos has a limit established by the laws of quantum mechanics. Using the 45T hybrid magnet and a crystal of high-temperature superconducting material, scientists were able to measure this boundary using high fields to bend electron trajectories to their will.

New Quantum Tricks in Nitride Materials

Gallium nitride (GaN) and Niobium nitride (NbN) are widely used in today's technologies: GaN is used to make blue LEDs and high-frequency transistors while NbN is used to make infrared light detectors. This experiment explores whether a nitride-based device may be relevant for quantum technologies of the future.

Crossover Between Coupling Regimes

Theory predicted that the transition between the superconducting and superfluid regimes should be continuous for electrons and holes in solid materials, but recent high magnetic field experiments performed by researchers from Columbia, Harvard and Brown Universities demonstrated the crossover between coupling regimes.

Unconventional Charge Transport in Kondo insulator YbB12

Three complementary measurements in intense magnetic fields shed light on a very unusual material that behaves like a metal, but does not conduct electricity! 

Fermi Surface Transforms at the Onset of the Pseudogap State in a Cuprate Superconductor

In high-temperature superconductors, a region exists between the superconducting and normal states known as the pseudogap state. Using the 45T hybrid magnet, scientists have determined that magnetism plays a previously unknown role in the development of the pseudogap phase.

Quantum Fluctuations Induce Stable Magnetic Arrangements in Layered Materials

Using high magnetic fields and low temperatures, scientists were able to observe a complex set of quantum fluctuations in a Barium, Cobalt, Antimony and Oxygen compound that can cause ordered magnetic states upon application of a magnetic field, including an unusual tetracritical point in the phase diagram where four of the magnetic phases come together at a single point.

Magnetic Field Driven Coherent Coupling of Bright and Dark Excitons

Probing one of the prominent classes of atomically-thin materials, the transition metal dichalcogenides, researchers found that while dark excitons are not optically responsive, they do interact with bright excitons and as a result, affect the lifetime and coherence of the bright excitons. Understanding the interaction between dark and bright excitons is critical to the future use of these materials in quantum information technologies.

Magnetoelastic interactions in the spin-dimer compound SrCu2(BO3)2

Studying a famous Spin-dimer compound, researchers made the first dynamic measurements via Raman spectroscopy up to 45T that provide a direct correlation between the magnetic interactions and the atomic structure, identifying the specific phononic vibrations that govern the magnetic interactions and, hence, various magnetic phases.  

Nontrivial topology in a Kagome superconductor

Kagome is the name given to the traditional Japanese star-like pattern to form baskets. The same geometric pattern can be found in the crystal structure of certain materials and can give rise to frustrated magnetism, charge density waves, superconductivity and topological properties. In a star turn for geometry, the same pattern which has given strength and beauty to weaving for thousands of years is used by nature to produce materials with complex electronic behavior.

Ultrahigh Supercurrent Density in a Two-Dimensional Topological Material

Research on a tungsten disulfide material (1T’-WS2) reveals a superconducting state that is able to carry an incredibly large amount of current within its superconducting layers - exceeding all other known two-dimensional superconductors.

Novel Metallofullerene Boosts Dynamic Nuclear Polarization

In this study, researchers added a low concentration of the endohedral metallofullerene (EMF) Gd2@C79N to DNP samples, finding that 1H and 13C enhancements increased by 40% and 50%, respectively, at 5 teslas and 1.2 Kelvin.

Making a Non-Heme Oxoiron(IV) Complex a Better Oxidant

This work investigates a series of oxoiron complexes that serve as models towards understanding the mechanism of catalysis for certain iron-containing enzymes.

Scientists Observe Molecular Movements in T Cells

Insights into the structure and movement of T cell surface proteins could lead to new ways to fight cancers, infections and other diseases.

High Field Uncovers Magnetic Properties in Chains of Copper Ions

The findings contribute to scientists' understanding of magnetic materials that could point the way to future applications.

Nuclear Spin Patterning Controls Electron Spin Coherence

Electron spin resonance work shows how transition metal can retain quantum information, important work on the path to next-generation quantum technologies.

Molecular Magnetic Building Blocks

This study reports the first transition metal compounds featuring mixed fluoride–cyanide ligands. A significant enhancement of the magnetic anisotropy, as compared to the pure fluoride ligated compounds, is demonstrated by combined analysis of high-field electron paramagnetic resonance (HF-EPR) spectroscopy and magnetization measurements.

Spin-Charge Interconversion at Near-Terahertz Frequencies

This work reports the first observation of the dynamical generation of a spin polarized current from an antiferromagnetic material into an adjacent non-magnetic material and its subsequent conversion into electrical signals

Strong Magnetic Coupling in Molecular Magnets through Direct Metal-Metal Bonds

An exciting advance of interest to future molecular-scale information storage. By using the uniquely high frequency Electron Magnetic Resonance techniques available at the MagLab, researchers have found single molecule magnets that feature direct metal orbital overlap (instead of weak superexchange interactions), resulting in behavior similar to metallic feromagnets that is far more suitable to future technologies than previous molecular magnets.

Magnetoelastic Coupling in the Multiferroic BiFeO3

High-resolution electron magnetic resonance studies of the spin-wave spectrum in the high-field phase of the multiferroic Bismuth ferrite (BiFeO3) reveal direct evidence for the magnetoelastic coupling through a change in lattice symmetry from rhombohedral to monoclinic. This study provides important information for designing future spintronics devices based on BiFeO3.

Vibronic Coupling in a Molecular Magnet

Using far-infared magnetospectroscopy in high magnetic fields, scientists probed coupled electronic and vibrational modes in a molecular magnet that are of interest in future classical and quantum information applications.

Magneto-Electric Effects in Metal-Organic Quantum Magnet

New materials that exhibit a strong coupling between magnetic and electric effects are of great interest for the development of high-sensitivity detectors and other devices. This paper reports on such a coupling in a specially designed material.

Pinning and Melting of a Quantum Wigner Crystal

This research established experimental evidence for the long sought-after transition of a small, two-dimensional sheet of electrons to a solid state.

Luttinger Liquid Behavior of Helium-Three in Nanotubes

Study of helium atoms at low temperatures illuminate extreme quantum effects that were earlier predicted.

Complex Phase Diagram and Reentrant Disorder in Ce3TiSb5

Ce3TiSb5 identified as a metallic magnet in which inverse melting does occur.

Incipient Formation of Wigner Crystal in Strongly Interacting 2D Holes

This highlight reports on the still poorly understood transition to an electron crystalline state (the Wigner crystal) in a two-dimensional system at extremely low densities, observable at low temperatures as a function of magnetic field. This experiment finds a surprising stabilization of the Wigner crystal arising from magnetic-field-induced spin alignment. Such electrically-delicate samples require the ultra-low-noise environment and experimental techniques available at the High B/T facility.

New High-Magnetic-Field Thermometers for Sub-Millikelvin Temperatures

This highlight focuses on the development of new thermometry required to study quantum materials and phenomena in high magnetic fields and at ultralow temperatures. The team has demonstrated that exceedingly small quartz tuning forks bathed in liquid 3He maintain a constant calibration that is magnetic field independent, thereby opening the use of these devices as new sensors of the response of quantum systems.

Luttinger Liquid Behavior of 3He Atoms

Using the NMR techniques and ultra-low temperature facilities at the MagLab, atoms of a pure isotope of helium showed experimental signs of the Luttinger liquid theory, an exact quantum mechanical solution of interacting fermions in one-dimension. 

Different Protein Receptor Responses Resulting from Different Membrane Environments

Special protein-coupled receptors play a role in nearly all physiological responses and are targets for more than 1/3 of all FDA-approved drugs. State-of-the art instrumentation at the MagLab allowed researchers to explore the effects of different lipid compositions on receptor activation, hinting that hereditary or dietary factors may influence the effectiveness of drugs.

Analytical Tool for in Vivo Triple Quantum MR Signals

Magnetic resonance (MR) signals of sodium and potassium nuclei during ion binding are attracting increased attention as a potential biomarker of in vivo cell energy metabolism. This new analytical tool helps describe and visualize the results of MR experiments in the presence of in vivo ion binding.

Exciton States in a New Monolayer Semiconductor

Analogous to the unique spectral fingerprint of any atom or molecule, researchers have measured the spectrum of optical excitations in monolayer tungsten diselenide (WSe2), which is a member of a new family of ultrathin semiconductors that are just one atomic layer thick.

Phase Diagram of URu2–xFexSi2 in High Magnetic Fields

Scientists used high magnetic fields and low temperatures to study crystals of URu2–xFexSi2. Using these conditions, they explored an intriguing state of matter called the "hidden order phase" that exhibits emergent behavior. Emergent behavior occurs when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, meaning the whole has exciting properties that its parts do not possess; it is an important concept in philosophy, the brain and theories of life. This data provide strict constraints on theories of emergent behavior.

Destruction of Weyl Nodes and a New State in Tantalum Arsenide Above 80 Teslas

Weyl metals such as tantalum arsenide (TaAs) are predicted to have novel properties arising from a chirality of their electron spins. Scientists induced an imbalance between the left- and right-handed spin states, resulting in a topologically protected current. This was the first time this phenomenon, known as the chiral anomaly, has been observed.

Unusual “Spin Liquid” Quantum State Found in TbInO3

Using intense pulsed magnetic fields and measurements at low temperatures, MagLab users have found evidence of a long-sought “spin liquid” in terbium indium oxide (TbInO3)

Spin-Lattice and Electron–Phonon Coupling in 3d/5d Hybrid Sr3NiIrO6

In Sr3NiIrO6 vibrations in the crystal lattice (phonons) play an important role in its intriguing magnetic properties that result in a very high coercive field of 55 T. Using a combination of pulsed and DC magnetic fields coupled with magnetization and far-infrared spectroscopy, researchers were able to conclusively link the phonons to the magnetic behavior.

Record-Breaking Magnetoresistance Measured in Natural Graphite

Researchers demonstrate a new record magnetoresistance in graphene by improving the contacting method, which helps improve our understanding of the material and can be useful in future sensors, compasses and other applications.

Smart Non-Linear Transport Technique Expands the Frontier of Superconductor Research

Superconductors conduct large amounts of electricity without losses. They are also used to create very large magnetic fields, for example in MRI machines, to study materials and medicine. Here, researchers developed a fast, new "smart" technique to measure how much current a superconductor can carry using very high pulsed magnetic fields.

Spontaneous "Valley Magnetization" in an Atomically-Thin Semiconductor

Interactions between electrons underpin some of the most interesting – and useful -- effects in materials science and condensed-matter physics. This work demonstrates that, in the new family of so-called "monolayer semiconductors" that are only one atomic layer thick, electron-electron interactions can lead to the sudden and spontaneous formation of a magnetized state, analogous to the appearance of magnetism in conventional materials like iron.

Ninety Teslas Peek Under the Superconducting Dome of a High-Temperature Superconductor

Physics does not yet know why copper-based superconductors (cuprates) conduct electrical current without dissipation at unprecedentedly high temperatures. Ultra high magnetic fields are used here to suppress superconductivity in a cuprate near absolute zero temperature, revealing an underlying transition to an electronic phase that might be the cause of the superconductivity.

Unusual High-Field State Discovered in Mineral Atacamite

Scientists at the Pulsed Field Facility recently found that applying an intense magnetic field to the mineral atacamite (a "frustrated" quantum magnet) yields unusual behavior associated with a novel state of matter known as quantum spin liquid.

Clues About Unconventional Superconductivity From High-Field Hall Data

In everyday life, phase transitions - like when water boils and turns into steam or freezes and becomes ice -  are caused by changes in temperature. Here, very high magnetic fields are used to reveal a quantum phase transition not caused by temperature, but instead driven by quantum mechanics upon changing the concentration of electrons, work that could hold critical clues that explain high-temperature superconductivity.

New Correlated Quasiparticles in an Atomically-Thin Semiconductor

A new class of correlated quasiparticle states discovered in a multi-valley semiconductor using optical absorption measurements in pulsed magnetic fields. This new type of multi-particle state results when excitons interact simultaneously with multiple electron reservoirs that are quantum-mechanically distinguishable by virtue of having different spin and/or valley quantum numbers.

One-way Optical Transparency at Telecommunications Wavelengths

Generally, light transmission is symmetrical - it's the same if you shine a light through a material forward or backwards. Using powerful pulsed fields, researchers revealed one-way transparency in a nickel-tellurium-oxygen based material showing that light flows one way across the telecom range – a finding that opens the door to exciting new photonics applications.

Magic Gap Ratio at the "BCS Superconducting to Bose-Einstein Condensate" Crossover in the High-Tc Cuprates

A defining experimental signature of a crossover in the strength of the pairing interactions from the weak coupling BCS to the strong coupling Bose-Einstein condensation limit has been discovered in high temperature superconductors.

Ultrafast THz Spectroscopy in Pulsed Magnetic Fields

Using pulses of far-infrared light and large magnetic fields, we directly measured the cyclotron resonance of charge carriers in a high-temperature superconductor for the first time, providing a new measure of their mass.

Tuning Topological Properties of TaSe3 Using Strain

The electrical resistance of ring-shaped TaSe3 devices was measured in magnetic fields of up to 60 T and at temperatures down to 0.6 K. High-field experiments on these devices show that changes in the microscopic quantum mechanical behavior of electrons in TaSe3 can be controlled by tiny mechanical forces, suggesting a completely new route towards very responsive sensors and devices.

Potential Spin Liquid System Explored with Pulsed Magnetic Fields

Scientists investigated a magnetic compound, identifying a possible spin liquid phase in a quantum material that may be a candidate for robust quantum information technologies.

In-House Fabrication of Outsert Coil 1 for the 100T Pulsed Magnet

Pulsed magnets are designed to operate near their structural limits to be able to generate extremely high magnetic fields. The coils have a limited life expectancy and thus need to be replaced on occasion. Fabrication of these large coils are now being done at the MagLab where advanced nondestructive examinations can be performed. Because of more rigorous quality controls and improvements in high-strength conductors and reinforcement materials, the lifetime of these coils can be extended.

Integrated Coil Form Technology for Ultra High Magnetic Fields

Tests of the first Integrated Coil Form test coil wound using REBCO superconducting tape show promise for use in ultra powerful magnets of the future.

"Test Coil Zero" on the Path to 40T

A recent test coil with more than 1300 meters of conductor successfully demonstrated a new winding technique for insulated REBCO technology and was fatigue cycled to high strain for hundreds of cycles. This is the MagLab's first "two-in-hand" wound coil and the first fatigue cycling test of a coil of this size, both of which are very important milestones on the path to a 40T user magnet.

Special High-Strength Conductor Testing Improves Future Pulsed Magnet Lifespan

Three non-destructive testing methods are developed for inspection of high strength, high conductivity wires which are used to wind ultra-high field pulsed magnets at the National MagLab. We expect the lifetime of future magnets to exceed those of past magnets due to these improvements in quality control.

Testing REBCO Critical Current Using a Superconducting Transformer

A new device enables the testing of superconducting cables to high current without the high helium consumption associated with traditional current leads. This superconducting transformer will play an important role in testing cables needed for next-generation superconducting magnets.

Studying the Microstructure of Glidcop® AL-60 Conductor

The MagLab's ultrahigh-field pulsed magnets require materials with both high mechanical strength and high electrical conductivity. One of these materials is Glidcop® AL-60, an alumina particle strengthened copper. This research studies the microstructure of this material to improve the construction and endurance of these magnets.

High-Temperature Superconducting Tape Suitable for Magnets at 50 Teslas and Beyond

Recent measurements of superconducting tapes in the MagLab's 45-tesla hybrid magnet shows that the power function dependence of current on magnetic field remains valid up to 45T in liquid helium, while for magnetic field in the plane of the tape conductor, almost no magnetic field dependence is observed. Thus design of ultra-high-field magnets capable of reaching 50T and higher is feasible using the latest high-critical current density REBCO tape.

Advanced Microscopy for Better Nanostructural Insights in Bi-2212 Round Wires

Researchers working to push the high temperature superconducting material (Bi-2212) to the forefront of superconducting magnet technology have used novel characterization methods to understand the complex relationship between its processing and its superconducting properties, specifically its current carrying capabilities. 

Resilient Bi-2212 Round Wire

Researchers studied the mechanics of supercurrent flow in state-of-the-art Bi-2212 superconducting round wires and learned that the microstructure of the superconducting filaments is inherently resilient, work that could open the door to new opportunities to raise supercurrent capacity of Bi-2212 round wires.

High Temperature Superconducting CORC® Cabling Technology

Large superconducting magnets need multi-conductor cables, which act like multi-lane freeways to allow electricity to switch lanes if one gets blocked. Here cross-sectional images of CORC wires reveal insights to improve the contact between conductors. 

Twisted Multifilament Round Wires for Reduction of Magnetization Losses

New work on round wires made with Bi-2212, a superconducting material, feature efficiency and performance that could enable the next generation of powerful magnets. Magnets made with these Bi-2212 round wires will enable nuclear fusion energy efforts, along with other applications where superconducting magnets are frequently charged and discharged during regular operation.

Bi-2212 High-Temperature Superconducting Test Coils up to 34T

High magnetic fields are essential for many exciting scientific and industrial applications including next-generation MRI, particle accelerators, fusion, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Here, a Bi-2212 high-temperature superconducting test coil demonstrated robust operation up to 34T, expanding the options for future magnet development pathways. 

New World-Record Magnet Fulfills Superconducting Promise

Made with high-temperature superconductors, the National MagLab's newest instrument shatters a world record and opens new frontiers in science.

National MagLab Racks up New Record with Hybrid Magnet

Combining tremendous strength with a high-quality field, the MagLab’s newest instrument promises big advances in interdisciplinary research.

MagLab Reclaims Record for Strongest Resistive Magnet

The new 41.4-tesla instrument reclaims a title for the lab and paves the way for breakthroughs in physics and materials research.

Scientists Observe Exotic Quantum Particle in Bilayer Graphene

Physicists prove a 30-year-old theory — the even-denominator fractional quantum Hall state — and establish bilayer graphene as a promising platform that could lead to quantum computation.

"Subatomic Smackdown" Rallies Physics Fans to Pick a Particle

Scientists and science communicators team up in playful bout that engages physics fans worldwide.

Researchers Control Properties of Graphene Transistors Using Pressure

This research is a promising first step toward finding a way to use graphene as a transistor, an achievement that would have widespread applications.

"Strange Metals" Just Got Stranger

A material already known for its unique behavior is found to carry current in a way never before observed.

Grant to Launch Next-Generation of Superconducting Magnets

With funding from the National Science Foundation, scientists and engineers will determine the best way to build a new class of record-breaking instruments.

Quirky Kindred Compounds Could Crack Quantum Code

"Kondo metamagnet" is first in a family of eccentric quantum crystals

Scientists Discover New Way of Creating a Topological Switch

Ultrafast manipulation of material properties with light could stimulate the development of novel electronics, including quantum computers.

Unlocking Graphene’s Superconducting Powers

With a twist and a squeeze, researchers discover a new method to manipulate the electrical conductivity of this game-changing "wonder material."

Student Employee Recognized for Excellence With Regional Award

A young computer programmer was surprised by not one, but two awards for building systems crucial to running the lab's magnets.

"Superhydride" Shows Superconductivity at Record-Warm Temperature

In a hydrogen-packed compound squeezed to ultra-high pressures, scientists have observed electrical current with zero resistance tantalizingly close to room temperature.

Scientists discover thermoelectric properties in promising class of materials

In a crystalline structure that locks a heavy atom in a metal cage, scientists find a key to materials that can turn heat into electricity, and vice versa.

With mini magnet, National MagLab creates world-record magnetic field

The compact coil could lead to a new generation of magnets for biomedical research, nuclear fusion reactors and many applications in between.

Electron (or 'Hole') Pairs May Survive Effort to Kill Superconductivity

Emergence of unusual metallic state supports role of "charge stripes" in formation of charge-carrier pairs essential to resistance-free flow of electrical current.

Research Reveals Exotic Quantum States in Double-Layer Graphene

A new study reveals a suite of quantum Hall states that have not been seen previously, shedding new light on the nature of electron interactions in quantum systems and establishing a potential new platform for future quantum computers.

Physicists' Finding Could Revolutionize Information Transmission

Move aside, electrons; it's time to make way for the trion.

Two MagLab Scientists Recognized With Prestigious NSF Awards

Physicist Christianne Beekman and chemist Yan-Yan Hu have been recognized as outstanding early-career researchers by the National Science Foundation.

New Director Named for MagLab's High B/T Facility

Rising from his post as deputy director, Mark Meisel plans to introduce new instruments and techniques to the facility.

Rare "Lazarus Superconductivity" Observed in Promising Material

In a uranium-based compound once dismissed as boring, scientists watched superconductivity arise, perish, then return to life under the influence of high magnetic fields.

Laura Greene Awarded 2019 Gold Medal Award

MagLab Chief Scientist Laura Greene recognized by the Tallahassee Scientific Society for her exemplary career achievements in science and contributions to science education and outreach.

Scientists Find Evidence of a Spin Liquid State in Candidate Material for Quantum Computers

A new experimental technique allowed physicists to precisely probe the electron spins of an intriguing compound and uncover unexpected behavior.

MagLab Physicist Named AAAS Fellow

Marcelo Jaime recognized for his contributions to experimental physics in high magnetic fields.

New Research on Superconductivity in Twisted Bilayer Graphene

A story of synergistic science showcases how theory and experimental research teamed up to yield first direct evidence of the nature of superconductivity in a promising material called magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene.

MagLab Director Named to National Academy of Sciences

Greg Boebinger, director of the Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, has been named a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Chaotic Electrons Heed 'Limit' in Strange Metals

Researchers define calculation framework to explain why electrons traveling in any direction in a strange metal follow the "Planckian limit.”

National Maglab Chief Scientist Appointed to President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Laura Greene is joining a prestigious group of advisors on US science and technology. 

Magnetism Helps Electrons Vanish in High-Temp Superconductors

MagLab users have discovered that magnetism is key to understanding the behavior of electrons in high-temperature superconductors.

Melting the Mysteries of Spin Ices

Using a special technique performed in the MagLab's high fields, researchers have uncovered a method to understand spin ice materials.

Mini Magnet Packs World-Record, One-Two Punch

Game-changing technology may hold the key to ever-stronger magnets needed by scientists.

Scientists Break Superconductor Record at MagLab

A new record for a trapped field in a superconductor could herald the arrival of materials in a broad range of fields.

Research at MagLab Demonstrates Resilience of New Superconductor

The new superconducting material, called potassium tantalate, is capable of withstanding substantial magnetic fields.

Amplified Impact: New insight on how small strain affects twisted bilayer graphene

Researchers now have a better understanding of how even a slight tug changes the marvel material.

MagLab’s Chief Scientist Recognized with Prestigious Oersted Medal

The award recognizes those who've had an "outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics."

How MagLab is Helping to Upgrade the World’s Largest Particle Accelerator

A team of MagLab scientists has been working on the superconducting wires for new electromagnets that will improve physics research at the Large Hadron Collider.

Team Tesla: How We Keep the World’s Most Powerful Magnets in Shape

Our magnets are like world-class athletes: powerful, but to stay in scientific shape, they need to eat and drink – a lot.

Bubble Trouble

After a series of frustrating failures, a team of MagLab scientists realized they were tackling the wrong problem.

Five Reasons Phosphorene May be a New Wonder Material

A material that you may never have heard of could be paving the way for a new electronic revolution.

Seeing the Future Through Crystals

Deep in their beautiful lattices, crystals hold secrets about the future of technology and science. Ryan Baumbach aims to find them.

Tapping Into the Topological Promise

At the National MagLab, scientists have been experimenting for years on materials first dreamed up by the newest physics Nobel laureates decades ago.

Replacing Rare Earths?

Using high-field electromagnets, scientists explore a promising alternative to the increasingly expensive rare earth element - neodymium - widely used in motors.

Meet CellBert: The MagLab's Mega-Vacuum

How do you keep the world's largest magnet lab clean? With a super-sized cyborg, of course! 

BiSCCO Breakthrough

MagLab experts fine-tuned a furnace for pressure-cooking a novel superconducting magnet. Now they're about to build its big brother.

Crossing a Mack Truck With a Ferrari

Two MagLab teams tried marrying vastly different technologies to build a new type of magnet: the Series Connected Hybrid. Decades later, has the oddball pairing panned out?

Thin Materials Made for Applications

Can thin films be designed for future quantum technologies? With a prestigious prize from the National Science Foundation, MagLab physicist Christianne Beekman wants to find out. 

Facilities Data Collection Goes Digital

Undergrad streamlines maintenance routine with touch-screen technology

Twisted Physics

Scientists probing the exotic, 2D realm are discovering astonishing behaviors that could revolutionize our 3D world.

Meet the HiPER 9 Tesla Magnet

This high performance Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) machine is known as the “witches hat” machine because of the black cones to absorb pulses of radiation.


Meet Jiaqi Cai

Meet Jiaqi Cai, researcher from the University of Washington, and learn more about how the MagLab's DC Field magnets help him explore topological materials.

Meet Ingrid Stolt

What's it like to be a remote user at the National MagLab? Learn from this frequent MagLab user who performed experiments on the 32T from across the country. 

Meet Leo Li

This frequent MagLab visitor talks about the allure of sci-fi, the road not taken as an engineer, and how he acts like a scientist, even when he’s off the clock.

Meet Kim Modic

This MagLab user talks about meeting Leonardo da Vinci, making magnetic soup and the freedom of being a scientist.

Meet Nicolas Doiron-Leyraud

Nicolas Doiron-Leyraud of Canada's Université de Sherbrooke talks about his recent experiments on cuprate superconductors, why he chose physics over philosophy, and what makes the MagLab a great place to do science.

Faraday Cage

A faraday cage is an important tool for some scientists at the MagLab. But they don't workwithit — they work inside it.

Resin Bed

This modest-looking tank is a MagLab hero in disguise.


A scientist combines high magnetic fields with ultra short laser pulses to probe the mysteries of photosynthesis.

Uranium magnet

The intriguing structure and properties of a uranium alloy hold clues about some of the most interesting and promising materials studied by physicists today.

Next-Generation Magnet

One of the best tools for testing new materials for the next generation of research magnets is a MagLab magnet.

An Oxide Sandwich

Two researchers play with nanostructures in a fun, fertile physics playground: the space between two things.

David Graf's Science Story

Physicist David Graf describes his path to science and to the MagLab.

Scientist Spotlight: EMR Director Stephen Hill

Hill, originally from outside Oxford, England, talks about the path to a career in science and how he ended up at the helm of a program that had helped to shape his own career.

Scientist Spotlight: Greg Boebinger

A far-reaching interview with the lab's director.

Scientist Spotlight: Ross McDonald

Physicist Ross McDonald pushes experimental boundaries with his work in Los Alamos.

Q&A with Dr. Likai Song

This MagLab biophysicist is working on an HIV vaccine.

Last modified on 10 August 2022